Agents of SHADE: All Shook Up

Since we've spent the past 9 weeks talking about issues on the show, I thought that this week, we should talk about characters. Specifically Skye, Trip, and Grant.  In that order!  And I've got a lot to say.  So let's do this.

 

Skye

I’m going to get this off my chest first: Skye’s name is Skye.  That’s the name she chose for herself.  She might’ve been born Daisy Johnson, and yes Daisy Johnson is an existing 616 character, but save for their powers and their fathers, 616 Daisy and Skye have very little in common.  And even if they did have more in common, the name a person choses for themselves is the name we should refer to them by.  Anything else is disrespectful.  If, in later episodes, Skye asks to be called “Daisy,” then I will call her Daisy instead.  But until then, I will refer to her by the name she gave herself, because that is her ‘real’ name, as far as anyone should be concerned.  It’s not more comics-savvy to call her Daisy.  It’s just incorrect.

That being said, I’d like to discuss her reveal.  I was, in all honesty, a little disappointed.  I love my princess as is, and I liked her as an original character.  As far as the MCU is concerned, she still pretty much is, though.  Daisy Johnson in comics canon is a mutant, and since we’re not allowed to even think that word in the MCU, Skye is an Inhuman.  Skye is her own character, and Skye’s trajectory has been rapidly different than Daisy’s.  I understand that given that Daisy will one day be an Avenger and the head of SHIELD, it makes sense to align Skye with her, but I also really love Skye on her own.

In actuality, the grievance I have here is with the way the show has been treating Skye this season, actually.  In this episode, Coulson lauded May for transforming Skye into an Agent with a capital A.  He said she was smart, capable, aware.  But she already was those things, and had been before she was ever a SHIELD agent.  I’m worried that, now that she’s picked up the Obelisk and received her powers, that we’re still going to ignore the negative aspects of her transformation.  

I firmly believe that the Obelisk helped influence the darker motives that were already there, and while I want to see that addressed, I’m also worried that the show will now try to shoehorn her from “Skye” to “Daisy.”  Maurissa Tancheron said we’ve witnessed the origin of a superhero, but that Skye’s path from here is certainly not clear-cut.  I predicted that Skye would be going dark.  She shot Grant, and she left Coulson bleeding on the floor (both of which could’ve been brought out by her desire to go after the Obelisk above all else).  I just am very worried about my baby girl, and about the way I worry several critics have purposefully misunderstood her character.  Moving on.

 

 

Antoine Triplett

Here’s the thing: I feel the exact same way about Trip’s death that I did about Allison Argent’s.  As in, I feel it was a death done out of shock factor and not plot.  I feel like there were a million ways Trip could’ve survived the situation, and they didn’t go with any of them.  

I don’t like the idea that Trip, a Howling Commando Legacy, was ultimately just a plot device.  I don’t like that they seem to have reverse-fridged him so that Skye can begin her journey.  And I really don’t like that the only character in this show that displays true moral good can’t survive it.

You know what else this is like?  This is like killing Wells on The 100 (you thought you were safe 100? Oh, girl.)  This is taking a character that is a moral compass and getting rid of them for pure shock.  And now, the show will have to force someone else, somehow who really doesn’t fit, to be the moral compass of the show (hi, Finn!)

I saw a post that really spoke to me about Trip’s death.  It brought up Cedric Diggory, and mentioned that narratives seem to think that it is impossible for forces of good to survive in morally grey storylines.  Which is, of course, bullshit. 

I wish I could say more, but this is almost word for word what I was worried about in last week’s SHADE.  That Trip is ultimately, to the writers, an expendable.  That, as a friend of mine mentioned, they tricked us into thinking that since he was a legacy, he wouldn’t be treated like every other sensitive black male always is in these kinds of shows.  It was the same sort of trick they pulled with Victoria, or with Isabelle.  It’s cruel.  It’s unnecessary, and it’s made a lot of people really angry.  And rightfully so.

 

 

Grant Ward

So as we know, I’ve spoken a lot about Grant for the first part of this season.  And I’ve also talked a lot about Agent 33.  And through my hurt, I am actually very glad that they’re going to be helping each other.  Because here’s the thing: Skye might not have been trying to kill him (remember how observant he told her she was in the beginning of the episode? And then she shoots him EXACTLY where his bullet-shield is?) Skye still shot him.  Skye is bad for him, and he’s bad for her.  So let me talk for a moment about my ship.  Let me talk about Skyeward.

We all know that ultimately, Skyeward is the ship of the show, so to speak.  Eventually, they’re going to get together.  That’s inevitable.  What isn’t inevitable is Grant learning to love himself, or Skye feeling regret for shooting him.  What isn’t inevitable are apologies or coping mechanisms or character growth.  Those are things I want, but they’re not guaranteed, especially with the way the narrative’s been going.

Skye and Grant being “true loves” does not excuse Skye’s treatment of Grant.  I love her, and I feel like narrative is trying to treat it like a negative, but I feel like the point’s being missed.  Not just by parts of the fandom, but by Grant himself.  So let’s get back to him.

Grant Ward is not Hydra.  He’s not SHIELD.  And now, his only ally is someone who’s story parallels his with an eerie accuracy.  I’m so glad Agent 33, who’s real name is Kara Palamas, was not killed off.  I’m so glad the two characters who both experienced some kind of brainwashing, be it literal or abusive, are going to try and move on with each other’s help.  

But I’m worried it won’t be enough.  I’m worried the narrative won’t let Skye move past her anger, and that she will drag herself down and Grant as well.  I’m worried that the narrative won’t let him get better.  And even if it’s entirely possible that he was testing Skye (he put a bulletproof plate under his shirt after telling her to stay in her seat.  It’s very possible he was testing her to see if she’d hurt him.  Also very possible he was looking out for effects of the Obelisk)  He still got shot by someone that he is unhealthily in love with.  Someone mentioned to me that when he sees Skye again, he might try to brush it off and say that he deserved it.  But he shouldn’t do that.  Not even a little bit.  And I just don’t know if the narrative realizes that.

 

 

This first half of the season has been super tense emotionally, and I think a hiatus is going to be good for us.  I for one really need to go walk some children in nature.  Naturally, this won’t be the last I say about AoS during the hiatus, not by a long shot, but until March, the official SHADE is now on hiatus as well.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed the recaps! Stay shady, friends!  I look forward to yelling at you about previews as they emerge!